It’s always a delight to be given an opportunity to revisit Moldova’s treasure trove of entries. It’s easy to forget when just looking at their last two uninspired efforts, but Moldova were once THE generators of wacky and fun entries at the contest. However, today I will be discussing their successful foray into pop rock, courtesy of Natalia Barbu.
Just to say upfront, I maintain that Moldova’s ultimate form was Nelly Ciobanu’s ‘Hora Din Moldova’ from 2009, but that’s already been covered in a previous feature.
So on a completely different note, we’ll turn back the dial to 2007, in which Natalia Barbu presented the very of-the-time violin-based metal soft-banger “Fight”. Interestingly, she beat out debuting Moldovan representatives Zdob si Zdub by a clear margin in the 2007 selection. The latter were rumoured to be the winners on the basis that they were the only entrants who could afford to pay their own expenses.
This is notable because unlike more financially-abundant delegations like Sweden and the UK, states like Moldova often rely on sponsorships and financing from labels or the artists themselves to pay for the staging of the performance. Even better, according to ESC folklore, it was agreed that Natalia wouldn’t have to pay for the staging of her entry IF she placed top 10 in Helsinki…which she ended up doing. This really gives ‘Fight’ a whole new meaning.
Rybak, eat your heart out
Even to this day, Fight is a standout in Moldova’s Eurovision discography. It is especially notable since it’s bookended by the genuinely ATROCIOUS ‘Loca’ and the mediocre ‘A Century of Love’. But even compared to their…actually good entries…Fight has a much darker and heavier tone, without falling into the ‘angry woman’ trope that cost televotes for the likes of Slovenia’s Maja Keuc (yes I’m still bitter).
The song was inspired by Within Temptation and Evanescence (again, very of-its-time), but has the addition of Natalia’s very own violin skills. She has played the violin since the age of seven, so the inclusion of this instrument so centrally in the melody and accompanying visuals gives the song a quintessential ‘Eurovision’ spin. Even more so because she couldn’t actually play the violin live on stage.
Oh, and on the staging, the removal of the vail gave my 8-year-old self all the drama I needed from a grungy diva. The styling has not aged as well as the song, but is still kind of a serve in its own way.
What do the others think?
I tend to be a big fan of Moldova’s entries, bringers of joy, smiles and camp that they are. And this genre entry doesn’t disappoint either, especially as I can’t say no to some guitars and violins. It feels very much ‘2007’, and slightly inspired by the brief rise to popularity that symphonic metal had. Natalia Barbu’s own vocals impress with their strength and versatility. Overall, another solid entry for Moldova that deserved so much more.
“Fight” is one of those entries that I really enjoyed at the time of the contest, but have since grown off me. It’s solid and it has held up as one of Moldova’s better entries through the years (that doesn’t say much, does it?), but it doesn’t have that it factor for me anymore. The best thing about the entry is by far Natalia Barbu herself – damn can she sing! As I revisit it, I wonder if it would’ve held up better by not being sung in English as I find the at times unintelligible to be quite distracting… Either way, not a bad entry by any means, just not my personal favorite.
Even though nowadays my favourite Moldova’s songs are crazy-Slavic-gypsyish (especially from Zdob și Zdub or Nelly Ciobanu), I have nothing bad to say about ‘Fight’. Natalia’s vocals are ON POINT, the violin adds an amazing spice on the rockiness of the song, I especially like the bridge part. Great try!
Fight is a well-constructed and well-executed piece of noughties pop-metal, with Natalia’s vocal and violin cutting through the rock guitar and electro backing. I’d say that thanks to a plum draw in the running order, it slightly over performed in the televote. Given that the likes of Sopho Khalvashi, Karolina Gočeva and Hanna Pakarinen were left in its wake, a tenth place finish is positively a job well done for Moldova in 2007.
What do you think of “Fight”? Are you glad sis eventually got that expenses form? What kind of entry would you like to see Eden perform in Rotterdam? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter, @escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our reactions to the over the coming months.